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Pacifics Beat Their Expectations, But Business Side Falls Short

The inaugural season of the minor league baseball team in San Rafael left the players champions and the business owners in the red.

 

While the San Rafael Pacifics , the team’s owner Centerfield Partners, did not meet their expectations for revenue, according to Mike Shapiro, the company’s president and general manager.

Although concessions, merchandise and ticket sales were strong, Centerfield did not meet its goal for signing enough sponsors for games. Shapiro declined to state their total revenue for the 2012 season and the size of their shortfall, but he did attribute the low number of sponsors partially to the city’s delay in approving the minor league team’s proposal in September 2011 and a lawsuit that soon followed.

“We weren’t able to reach out to businesses sooner since we were waiting to see if it would be approved, and then we were waiting to hear from our attorneys,” Shapiro said.

The Albert Park Neighborhood Association , saying that it violated the park’s deed of restrictions that bar commercial use of the property for more than one week and that the proposal should be subject to environmental studies.

A Marin judge did not agree. M. Lynn Duryee ruled in favor of Centerfield and the city in February 2012, but the APNA has since appealed the decision.

Sponsorships became more important in Centerfield’s business plan from neighbors about noise, safety, parking and traffic near . Between 50 and 60 sponsors signed up for larger ads on the outfield fence, which was not enough to meet Centerfield’s projections.

“I think many people had uncertainty at first because of the lawsuit and the press,” Shapiro said. “No one really knew what this was about, but we saw people get excited about coming to games as the season went on.”

Following the opening night game in June, which sold out, attendance for the first half of the season was low. Many games in the beginning were at half capacity, but tickets sales picked up by July 4, according to Shapiro.

The average game sold 760 seats with the average ticket price of $11, Shapiro said. With 42 scheduled home games, Centerfield saw more than $350,000 from tickets, excluding revenue from concessions, merchandise and sponsorships.

Shapiro is hopeful for next season since the company will not face many of their one-time costs, such as litigation, repairing the grand stand and setting up the concession booths. He also hopes that this first season will attract new sponsors and encourage existing ones to renew their contracts.

“There’s still plenty of room for growth,” he said.

 

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